It's unfair to compare the members of the Mets' growing disabled list to a M*A*S*H unit. Unfair to the M*A*S*H unit, that is. At least there, thanks to the surgical skills of Captains Hunnicutt and Pierce, an occasional wounded GI actually got better and rejoined his mates in battle. These DL members seem to get sucked into a black hole of forgetfulness, never to return. Angel Who? What is an El Duque, anyway?
While injury should never be an excuse for failure (the 1987 Mets' starting rotation excluded from this rule), let's be honest. With John Maine and Billy Wagner the most recent victims of pitching wear and tear, what are the odds the Mets will right themselves again, rip off another long winning streak, and play October ball this year? Even the most optimistic Mets fan has to admit those odds are about the same, and would be as enjoyable, as pulling a crisp new $20 bill from the pocket of a pair of jeans fresh out of the wash.
Let's say Marlon Anderson's math is right, and 92 wins gets you the NL wild card. The truth in that statement alone is dubious at best, because that means neither the Brewers nor the Cardinals will win 30 more games in the next eight weeks. It also means neither the Dodgers nor the Marlins will play as well as the Mets from here on in. But let's just say 92 is the magic number. The Mets would need to win two out of three games for the rest of the season to do that. I love 'em. I'm rooting for 'em. But I wouldn't bet my next paycheck on that proposition. True, the Mets play only 21 of their remaining 51 games against teams with better records. But that kind of cushion didn't mean a thing last September, and it's doubtful it'll mean much this time, either. The first-place Mets of a week ago were recently described as "a .500 team that had one big winning streak". Now, after you extract those ten wins, they're a five games below .500 team.
Now that the trading deadline has passed and no deals were made, bringing the kids up from New Orleans and Binghamton is the right prescription. This is not to say the Mets need to throw in the towel on 2008. But waiting for the sick to heal hasn't done much good, and hoping the healthy guys who are hot stay hot, and those who are not suddenly get hot, is not a winning formula. Jerry Manuel simply needs to make it clear to these kids that the future of Mets Nation is not dependent on their short-term success or failure. My current favorite Zephyr, Valentino Pascucci, may be the next Z recalled to the big club if needed. I know, Triple-A is Triple-A, but Scooch has been tearing up the PCL. It'd be interesting to see how he'd do against major league pitching this season.
It could be that Eddie Kunz will turn into Jerry Koosman. Maybe Daniel Murphy will morph into Dale Murphy. Perhaps Nick Evans follows in the footsteps of Dwight Evans. If so, that's a bonus. If it gets them into the postseason, it's even better. But if not, at least we've got minor league talent that's been at least partially tested in a major league pennant race. Who knows? We might even be able to snooker another team into letting us package Aaron Heilman into a deal.